NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Senior Beyonka McDowell of the University of Arkansas track team set a Lady Razorback record in the heptathlon shot put and is currently in third place after the first day of the heptathlon at the Southeastern Conference outdoor track and field championships in Nashville, Tenn.
Scoring 3,454 points, McDowell is 51 point behind the leader of the competition, Jessica Stockard of Georgia who tallied 3,505 points. Lady Razorback freshman Whitney Anderson had a solid first day on way to 2,897 points and 12th overall.
“Beyonka is well ahead of what we expected,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “She had a phenomenal first day and if she can carry it over to Friday, she could have a great competition.”
Leading off with the 100-meter hurdles, McDowell looked strong when she battled a head wind but still managed to be the only competitor to dip under 14 seconds when she finished in 13.86. Winning the competition, McDowell held a 20-point lead on the competition heading into the high jump. Anderson struggled with the winds as she tackled her first collegiate heptathlon, running 15.16 for 821 points.
Moving to the high jump, Anderson and McDowell went jump-for-jump on their pit until they got over 5-3 when Anderson missed at 5-4.25. McDowell, looking for a career best was able to clear the bar on her second attempt, then added another height at 5-5.25 for 806 points. The clearance actually dropped McDowell in the overall standings to fifth, but was almost 150 points more than her previous career best.
The third event of the day was the shot put where McDowell made her mark with authority. Tossing the shot to a career best and Arkansas school record 45-7, she scored 787 points and won the event by more than a foot-and-a-half. McDowell’s shot put crushed the three-year-old mark of former Lady’Back Deedee Brown who tossed the 4kg instrument 42-6.75. Anderson’s effort of 34-6.75 placed her ninth in the competition and 10th overall.
Wrapping up the day with the 200-meter dash, McDowell ran a season best in the event by more than one-and-a-half seconds to score 863 points with a time of 25.26 seconds. Her effort was a third heptathlon career best for McDowell as she attempts to sweep the SEC multi-events having already won the pentathlon competition in March. Anderson also wrapped up her day with a season best effort for 200 meters when she ran 26.24 and completed the first day with 776 points in 12th place. Anderson’s first-day effort keeps her on pace to qualify for the USATF Junior Championships to be held in June.
The Lady Razorbacks continue competition at the SEC Championships on Friday afternoon with the hammer throw and heptathlon and after several preliminaries, conclude the evening with the 10,000-meter run. For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, visit www.ladybacks.com.